A laboratory is a space dedicated to research and experimentation. It is in this sense that Exeko’s Social Innovation Lab hopes to utilize its different social practice approaches (mediation and co-construction, sharing of knowledge, influences, scaling) to experiment with hybrid strategies for social transformation in certain communities. These experiments enable us to test the limits of our approaches as well as produce knowledge nourishing inclusive and emancipatory actions.
The Inclusive Culture Lab is a three-year research project in partnership and cooperation with eleven of Montreal’s most prominent cultural institutions and nine community organisations. The project aims to identify the best practices in terms of accessibility and inclusion in cultural institutions. The project is composed of three parts and utilizes approaches based on action-research and creation-research. The first part consists of a comparative analysis of current institutional accessibility policies. The second part utilises the invisible theater in order to document institutional reactions towards marginality. The third part invites participants hailing from groups that risk or have already experienced social exclusion to participate in a cultural fieldtrip to one of these institutions as well as two workshops (before and after the fieldtrip) involving observation and social analysis of the milieu. General observations will be reached following the completion of these three parts. The participants, the institutions and Exeko’s laboratory team will use these observations to collaboratively create an accessibility charter.
The projects held within the Inclusive Speech Lab aim to develop processes that facilitate the speaking out of marginalized groups within the public space. An initial project was held with men experiencing homelessness who frequent community organizations in order to create an hour-long radio show, which was broadcasted on CIBL. A second project was held in cooperation with Oxfam. It brought together over a hundred youths hailing from more than 20 different countries in order to co-create a manifesto denouncing the inequalities they face from a global perspective. Other experiments are currently interested in democratic exchanges between elected officials and citizens.
The Inclusive Knowledge Lab creates participatory methodologies with regards to the development of knowledge. This lab is explores ways to hybridise Exeko’s mediation practices with research-action approaches. A series of projects held with the McCord Museum explored the significance and knowledge surrounding objects from some of the museum’s social history collections from the point of view of marginalized populations. A project held with CELAT paved the way towards experimenting creative research approaches with citizens regarding Université de Montréal’s new Outremont campus.